This past weekend we launched Mindful Littles’ first Kids ‘n Nature program. We partnered with two wonderful organizations, John Muir Land Trust (JMLT), and Tinkergarten to deliver this program. JMLT’s vision is “to ensure that the beauty, diversity and fullness of our natural areas continue to enrich and sustain all generations of life.” To fulfill this vision, they protect and care for open spaces all around the East Bay in Northern California. Tinkergarten is “on a mission to elevate childhood,” through outdoor learning. They hope children “develop core life skills while enjoying healthy, fun, engaging experiences in the physical freedom of local green spaces.” The trifecta effect of our partnership is pretty unique to be able to offer a mindful, immersive outdoor experience to help families appreciate our natural surroundings in a new way.
Our project took place in an open space that’s off-the-beaten path. During our event, we gathered as a group of about 15 families to first talk about why Mother Nature is so important- the sun, the water, the trees and more. We spoke to the littles about how everything in our world is interconnected, and that even something as small as an ant actually has a purpose for doing what it does. We expressed some mindful gratitude for Mother Nature before we began our exploration.
Together we did an outdoor scavenger hunt on a short hike up to the view of the San Leandro reservoir. The kids were very excited to collect acorns, rocks, flowers, sticks, treasures and more on the hunt. When we reached the view of the water, we did a sound hunt at the top of the hike to listen for sounds. After hiking back down and a quick yoga game, we began Tinkergarten’s berry painting project (or as they call it “Unrecipe for Paint”). The kids loved crushing the berries with some water and a stick, and then came up with beautiful drawings from this berry paint. A few of the kids realized that the paint smelled good, so they naturally started experimenting and tasting their berry paint. They also tried painting on tree trunks. Their organic sensory experiments were a classic example of how easy it is to practice mindfulness when you are in the great outdoors.
We ended our program by offering a gift to JMLT- seven tree logs that will act as a natural playground and sitting area at Carr Ranch, which is a new open space site opening next month. We also presented JMLT with a sign from Mindful Littles that would be a permanent fixture by this natural playground. Our hope is that all families visiting Carr Ranch have a moment to be a part of and appreciate the beauty that surrounds them.
If you live in the Bay Area and want to join JMLT for their Carr Ranch dedication and opening, you can check out details on their website here: http://www.jmlt.org/carrranch_opening.html.
We are grateful to JMLT, Tinkergarten, our entire Mindful Littles crew and all the families who joined us for our first Kids ‘n Nature event. This is just the beginning of many more mindful outdoor adventures to come!